They were both taken in the top 10 in the 2011 draft. They text each other after big games and they even exchanged jerseys this summer at a preseason game. They are tight.
They are also both in a career crisis. Even as he has watched Miller go through an NFL suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy, Smith has likely put himself in position to serve a suspension.
On Friday morning, Smith added to his growing list of troubles when he was arrested for driving under the influence and marijuana possession. San Jose police arrested Smith at 7 a.m. PT Friday after a single-car accident.
This is Smith’s second arrest on suspension of DUI. He was also arrested in January 2012 in Miami. The charge was reduced to reckless driving because he agreed to community service, DUI class and other preventive steps.
Smith is also being named in a lawsuit by a Northern California man who said he was shot during a party at Smith's house hosted by his roommate. Smith was stabbed at the party.
For a player who is five days from his 24th birthday, issues are piling up at a scary pace. Let’s put it this way: If these issues had accrued while he was at Missouri, they very likely would have affected Smith’s draft status.
The 49ers and the NFL cannot be pleased with the latest development. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is not a fan of repeat offenders. I would be shocked if Smith isn’t suspended after this latest transgression.
It is too early to tell when a suspension might occur. Often such things are put off by appeals. The 49ers host the Colts on Sunday. Smith has reportedly already been bailed out of jail. It is to be determined if he will play Sunday, but this situation is more long-term than immediate.
Like his friend Miller, Smith has to take control of his life or he will throw away a potentially fine career. Smith has 3.5 sacks in the first two games this season and 37.5 sacks in 34 NFL games. His immense talent is undeniable. But sadly, so are his off-field issues.
The 49ers have been planning for the future financially, and extending Smith had been part of that plan. But this arrest has to give the team pause as Smith continues to show that his poor decision-making could override his on-field ability.